Ministers have u-turned on a decision to cut funding to Scotland's largest men's mental health charity.

The Scottish Men's Shed Association (SMSA) warned they were on the cusp of falling into administration after losing financial support from the Scottish Government. 

In Holyrood on Tuesday, Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, said she would restore money to the charity which acts as an umbrella organisation for the many men’s sheds across Scotland.

READ MORE: Cuts show the SNP and political class hate the Men’s Shed association

She told MSPs: “The Scottish Government has provided £795,000 worth of funding to the Scottish Men’s Shed Association since 2016, supporting the movement to grow from five sheds to 200 across Scotland.

“We understand it's a very challenging time for small organisations, the that the SMSA are working to secure funding from charity donors and from the private sector.

“Given this, I can confirm today that we will work with the organisation to identify and to provide the funding for this financial year to ensure that we support them in the months ahead to develop broad, sustainable support for this important national organisation.

“And we hope this will help to avoid future uncertainty and assist local sheds to flourish”.

The Herald:

Labour’s Paul O’Kane welcomed the decision. He said Men's Sheds were a “linchpin in tackling poor mental well-being isolation and loneliness.”

However, he said the charity had been here before just last year.

“This is not an unusual situation in terms of the funding, and the Men’s Shed Association needs proper stability of funds to ensure that they can continue to have a huge impact on men's lives.”

He asked the minister if any “longer-term funding options” were being looked at by the government.

Ms Somerville said “permanent core funding to every third-sector organisation” was not possible.

“What we do need to do is ensure that we're working with organisations like the SMSA to look at financial sustainability in the long term.

“And that can't just be from Scottish Government funding, important though that is, but it can't just be around that.

“And it will include obviously looking at other avenues for their funding, so we are absolutely committed to working with them to ensure that that happens.”

The minister also said that the issue of funding for SMSA was separate to the funding streams open to individual sheds.

READ MORE: Glasgow Caledonian University study finds Men's Sheds are improving health

Men's Sheds were launched in Australia more than 20 years ago in a bid to help reduce loneliness and keep men well after retirement.

More than 10,000 men in Scotland use the service. 

Over the weekend, the SMSA's chief executive, Jason Schroeder, told the Sunday Post that the situation was dire.

“We’ve got enough funding for about nine or 10 months and then we’ll be looking at winding up,” he said.

“That will mean the more than 200 groups lose all their support and all the new groups that are starting will have no support.

“We’ll be celebrating our 10th anniversary in October – hopefully we’ll be celebrating rather than closing.

“The truth is that the impact of us closing would be felt throughout the sector and in communities across Scotland.”